Part 38 10/06/2019
It was really exhausting travelling for almost 24hrs plus. Though I manage to get some sleep in the flight but whenever flight had turbulence Mehak got startled and I calmed her down till it was fine. We landed Schiphol airport and took a cab to our rented home. I messaged the landlord once we get into the cab that we are on the way. Mehak was busy looking out from the cab. It’s obvious from her facial expression she is having culture shock seeing the new people and this environment. We reached the address Mrs Janssen give and she welcomed us warmly. Once she showed around the house and left the place. I took the bags and guided Mehak to upstairs. I showed her the room and placed her bags there and asked her to change her clothes and rest a bit. She nodded and I closed the door and walked to my room. I plopped on the bed after leaving the luggages at the corner. I squeezed my forehead with my fingers and slowly massaged my nape and turn right and left to relief from the tensed muscle. After changing to something comfortable and I slip under the bed sheet.
Almost two weeks went by for Shaurya and Mehak. She hardly says a word to him. Shaurya prepares all the meal by himself as its quiet hard to find vegetarian meals outside. During night time, Shaurya always has to rush to her room as Mehak will start to kick and throw her hands out in the air as her eyes closed in a cold sweat. Her sharp shrieks as she mumbles please let me go, please. He calms down her by saying soothing words and wait till she relax and goes back to her sleep. He caress her head gently like a mother caress her child. Once she goes to deep sleep he will plant a kiss on her forehead and goes back to his room. There are times he will be so tired to walk back to his room he will fell asleep in the couch in Mehak’s room. He will go back to his room at early morning before Mehak wakes up. He called Dr Kaur to ask about Mehak’s nightmare and Dr Kaur explained its normal for PTSD survivor to have nightmares as they will have recurrent flashes of the incident and someone must be present with them at night to calm them and assure them they are safe. He understand that Mehak needs time to recover and he will do everything and anything for her. Mehak most of the time will sit near the window aisle and look outside. There are times Shaurya find her crying silently while watching the rain she traces the rain drops on the windows in the pattern it runs. He knows she is not alright completely but he can’t see her in that state, he cleared his throat to gain her attention, she quickly wiped her tears away and kept her face stoic as usual. Shaurya walked in with two cups in his hands, he forwarded one to Mehak and she reluctantly took it from him and sip it slowly.
Shaurya: So tomorrow can we go for sightseeing? It’s been almost two weeks we are here. We just went to do our grocery shopping and walked around the nearest park.
Mehak stayed quite as she drink her hot chocolate. Looking at her silence Shaurya wanted to leave the room when Mehak said okay, he asked her to rest well and tomorrow they will go out for sightseeing. The next morning they headed to Zaanse Schans Volendam and Marken. The joined the tour for full day discover and admire authentic windmill tour then headed to cheese factory to sample local dairy products and later proceeded to the wooden clogs factory. They joined the scenic drive by the bus through the Dutch picturesque countryside. Later Shaurya bring her to ferry cruise and also visit the fishing village. Shaurya can see that Mehak seems to be relax a bit when they visiting all these places. He kept his contentment in him and followed her as she walked freely. She look cute with her jeans and tops. They sat down in a park bench and she looked around at the people who are busy them self with playing with their kids, some couple sat together enjoying each other’s company others walking with their fur kids. Seeing so many puppies playing at the park, Mehak gets up from the bench walks towards them. She asked permission from the owners before patting them. Soon she started to play with them. Some of the dogs’ sizes were so huge like a wolf in the forest. After such a long time Shaurya sees a small smile sprout Mehak’s face. She spent time with the dogs for some time till some of the owners started to leave from there. Shaurya walked to her and saw her waving at the dogs as they wiggle their tails following their owners back home. Shaurya called her and Mehak turned to look at him he asked her shall we go and she nodded as she tuck her hair behind her ears.
Ever since the incident happens, I felt somewhat lonely kind of unwanted or unloved feelings. I can’t seems to connect with anything around me. Shaurya has brought me to Amsterdam. We have talked about this place long ago. I have seen the windmills in Shaurya’s laptop and he told me it’s a must see place and he showed me other interesting place to see in his laptop. So when he asked me about going out of India for some time and when he told me about seeing windmills I agreed. The first two weeks it rained almost every day and it was quiet cold though it was their summer. We didn’t do much except for walking around the neighborhood, taking the public transport and familiarizing with the city. We did some groceries shopping and luckily found a shop which sells Indian items too. We get all our items there and the owner Mr Srinivasan is quiet friendly too. He suggested us to go around and see some places and we agreed. I always sat quietly in a corner and watch the rain from the window seat and I feel like the sky is crying along with me as my tears runs down my cheeks. I don’t feel like doing anything here, my favorite things to do is cooking even that I can’t concentrate. Once I burnt the onions and the entire house smell burnt. Shaurya rushed to the kitchen and turn off the stove and put the pan into the sink. I feel so bad that I can’t do even a small thing. But Shaurya ask me to sit at the kitchen counter and he did the cooking. I saw his face, he was not upset at all. I was expecting he turned to be like the husbands in the daily soap where they became angry for burning the food instead he ask me to sit and watch how he cooks. Night time sleeping in that room alone is something I hate it so much. Whenever I closed my eyes I only see that horrific night. Even today I jerked awake from a nightmare screaming and with cold sweat. I can feel the man in the mask is laughing at me as I scream for help and saying no one can hear me but a warm tender dripping voice was there calming me down saying nothing will happen and assure me that I am safe now. I know from the voice even with my eyes shut its Shaurya. He caressed my head tenderly and put me to sleep and I always hold to his hand to sleep. I don’t know what time he will go to his room to sleep but I know because of me he is becoming restless. Whenever I wake up I can smell his cologne lingers in the air and that’s made me feel safe. Today we went out in a tour. I saw the windmill, the shoemakers with wooden clogs, and also the dairy factory where they make fresh cheese and other items. The tour guide explained everything about the place and we even went for the river cruise also the fishing village. It was altogether a new experience to me. Once we back to our town in the evening, it was still early we went to the nearest park before going home. I saw kids playing happily around the park, couples sitting holding each other’s hands and some others bringing their pet for walk in the park and seeing the fur kids it melted my heart. I walked to them and kneel down to pat them. One of the golden retriever reminded me of Naughty. I wonder what is he doing back home. These dogs here are huge, they are heavier too. They warmed up to me quickly. I feel so light when playing with them and didn’t realize it became dark. The owners bid good night to me and walked with their fur kids, even the dogs wiggled their tails while returning home.
After that it become our routine to visit the park because of the dogs I always play at the park. One day when I was in the park, I saw a kid tripped and fell down. I rushed to her aid. I quickly lifted her and dusted her knee and asked if she is okay, she replied, I am okay don’t worry. Just then a lady came to us, I believe it’s her mother. She kneel down to us and looked at me and said thank you. I replied welcome to her. We straight up our self as the little girl said you are looking so pretty and I like your cheeks and I smiled as I replied her I like her too as she is cute. Her mom asked me are you new to Amsterdam? I nodded and said yes. She introduced herself as Diya and the little girl is her daughter Janhvi. I smiled and introduced myself and I pointed to Shaurya who is at the bench. Diya is from Mumbai she is working as early childhood educator in one of the school’s here. After get to know about where are we staying and etc. we parted our way after exchanging phone numbers. I am happy at least met someone who we can speak in our mother tongue and also from our home country.
Mehak seems to enjoy the park trip these days as she spend more time with the dogs and seeing different type of people who are very friendly, she opens up a bit with them and ready to mingle with them too. She met with Diya in the park along with her daughter Janhvi. Mehak looks happy meeting them as she can converse in Hindi. Janhvi is such a cute little girl. She is 5 years old with big eyes flashing her cute smile all the time. So now evening park time is a must as Mehak wants to meet with Janhvi and Diya. Both will run around the park play with each other, playing chase with other kids at the park. One day Mehak was playing in the swing along with Janhvi and it was almost time to return back Janhvi insist that Mehak and I should come to her home and see all her toys. Diya invited us the next day to their home and we agreed to go to their home. The next day evening we went to Diya’s home. It was not far from our home and we took a bus and reached their place. We were welcomed warmly by Diya and Janhvi. Janhvi pulled Mehak to her room and showed her all her toys. Just then the doorbell ring and Diya excused herself to attend to the door. I watched how Mehak play along with Janhvi and both make cute funny faces while playing with Janhvi’s dolls. I am happy to see Mehak’s behavior change though she is quite at home with me at least here she seems to be happy and not gloomy like how she used to be. Diya called us downstairs and we went downstairs. Diya introduced us to Ruben a Hollander. He greeted us and shake hands and soon we sat down for dinner. We enjoyed the company and the food.
We were invited to Diya’s place and I was excited to go and spend time with Diya and Janhvi. It was a cozy house and Janhvi was so excited to see us there. Later we met with Ruben, a fair Hollander and I wonder why Janhvi not calling him daddy but calling him by his name. Though I am tempted to ask this to Diya but I didn’t want to be rude interfering in others business. He is quite friendly too, carrying Janhvi in his shoulder and talking animatedly about some cartoon. Ruben keep Shaurya accompany in the living room while playing with Janhvi. I helped Diya to clear the dining area and we sat down to chit chat.
Mehak: Thank you for inviting us to your home, we really enjoyed the food and playing with Janhvi.
Diya: Mehak you are most welcome. Not all the time I can meet someone from my home country and I am feeling good to have you here.
Mehak: Your husband is very friendly too, I love the way how he and Janhvi bond together.
Diya’s expression changed a bit and I wonder why, did I said something wrong, I tried to apologies but interrupted when…
Diya: Ruben is not Janhvi’s father. He is just a friend to us.
I gasped lowly hearing it. Diya understand from my facial expression that I am surprised.
Mehak: I am sorry for my rude behavior.
Diya: It’s okay Mehak. Since you are our friend, you should know this too. I came from Mumbai to Sweden to study. There I met Janhvi’s dad and our friendship blossomed to love. Akash is his name. He was doing his finals there. He promised me that once we go back to India he will talk to his parents and we will get married so we went overboard. I got pregnant and when I told this to Akash, he asked me to abort the pregnancy saying that he is not ready for a child now as we need to finish our studies and settle down prior to have a child. He tried to convince me that we can have another child and now he needs to concentrate on his studies and later built his career. I told my family about my pregnancy and my dad is very conservative. He disowned me and cut all ties with me saying that I am dead for him. But I didn’t give up, Akash didn’t want to take responsibilities too so we break up and I completed my studies. Give birth to Janhvi and raised her on my own. I got a job and moved to Amsterdam. It’s been years I have been to India as I don’t have anyone there anymore. Ruben is my colleague, he is showing some interest in me for years, I have told him that I am not ready to accept a new relationship and I am afraid of Janhvi’s future. He comes to see us every day and spend time with us without fail. Janhvi loves to play with him and I am happy in that way.
Hearing Diya’s story really hit my heart badly. She went through so much and yet she stands there with a proud smile in her face. That’s when Janhvi came running to the kitchen as Ruben comes after her. Janhvi screams mommy help me Ruben is going to catch me, help me mommy. Shaurya came there and said we should go back it’s getting late. I nodded and Diya accompanied us to the door, she thanked us and we bid good night and left from there. While we boarded the bus my mind was still thinking about Diya and Janhvi. She went through so much and yet she give birth to Janhvi and living a happy life and now Ruben is there to take care of them. Our stop has come and we get down from the bus and started to walk towards our house. Shaurya opens the door of the house and let me in first. I slowly walked up to my room and Shaurya trail behind me. I walked to wards my room and he went to his. I tucked inside the warm duvet after change my clothes to my nightwear, my head were still rummaging with many things. One part of me I miss my family, the laughter’s, the food, the environment and all the happy moment I had with them. It’s something very close to my heart and I fell asleep in that happy thought.